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The Surprisingly Risque World of Society Painter John Singer Sargent

Factoids to impress your friends from the new portrait exhibition at the Met
relates to The Surprisingly Risque World of Society Painter John Singer Sargent
Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art via Bloomberg

It’s easy to peg John Singer Sargent—whose best-known portraits are of stiff-backed children and elaborately dressed socialites drowning in tulle—as a fluffy society painter of the rigid late-Victorian era. To wit, the biggest scandal of his career involved a portrait of “Madame X,” aka socialite Virginie Amelie Avegno Gautrea, with a lasciviously draped dress strap falling onto her shoulder. (Gasp!)

But Sargent (1856–1925) was infinitely more freewheeling than his better-known works would imply. In the exhibition Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends, which opens on June 30 at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, a different kind of painter emerges.